Hey everyone! Today is my 25th birthday and all in all it is a fantastic day! To explain the title: I lost my voice last night, but it’s not stopping me from talking or singing! I even did a little serenade for all the people who have congratulated me for my birthday. Listen to my rendition of Margaret’s Thank you very much; it’s pretty bad and hilarious.

Anyway, for the occasion I wanted to bake something nice. However, at the moment I’m following a keto diet. This means I can’t have many carbs and especially no sugar. This is kind of tricky, since carbs are in so many foods I love. Luckily there are many wonderful recipes and sometimes the no-no ingredients can be substituted by something else. I still browse through normal recipes as well, to save them for later when I’m not following the diet so strictly.

So there was this very yummy looking picture that came by of raspberry lemon bars. I am a professional grade cake, pie and pastry eater. My mom is an amazing cook, but her desserts are from another planet. All my life she has served me the most delicious dishes. Even so, I have never been a fan of tangy desserts. I like, no I love them sweet, sweeter, sweetest. This recipe really shouldn’t be for me, but the pictures really won me over. I needed to try them. So I substituted the flour for almond meal and coconut meal, the sugar for artificial sweeteners and cut back a bit on the butter. I also found out that I did not have any (frozen or other) raspberries present; I must have used them all for smoothies. I did have strawberries and blueberries so I used those.

strawberry blueberry lemon bars

Look at those beautiful colours!

They taste amazing! And they look so good too… And best of all: they are super easy to make, just follow the instructions and everything should come out fine. Just do not make them in a metal pan because it reacts badly with the lemon juice. One recipe should give you 16 servings. They may seem like small servings, but they are really dense and fill you right up. And a mere 120 calories a piece too! You could even add a bit of whipped cream guilt-free.

Strawberry Blueberry Lemonade Bars

adapted from The IMPROV kitchen

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 stick (125 grams) butter
1/4 c. sweetener
1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 c. coconut flour
>1 t. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

For the filling:
1 heaping cup frozen strawberries, thawed
1 heaping cup frozen blueberries, thawed
2 tbsp liquid sweetener or 1/2 c. sweetener
4 lemons worth of lemon juice
2 lemons worth of lemon zest
3 medium egg whites
1 meduim egg
1 c. coconut flour
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350º F (175º C). Line a non-metal baking pan, about 20 x 20 cm or 8″ x 8″, with parchment paper so you can easily lift the bars out once they’ve cooled. 

To make the crust:
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add in vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Dump dough in baking pan and press with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom of the dish.

To make the filling:
Blend the berries up in a food processor or blender. Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice + zest, flour, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 25 – 30 minutes depending on your oven and the sized baking dish you use.

Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for a few hours (or until they’ve cooled completely).

cake2

I have never used a nutritional calculator before, so this might be a tiny bit off:

16 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 121.0
  Total Fat 10.8 g
  Saturated Fat 6.5 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 3.0 g
  Cholesterol 29.1 mg
  Sodium 23.9 mg
  Potassium 94.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 5.5 g
  Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
  Sugars 2.4 g
  Protein 1.9 g

This spring is frustrating as hell! We’ve only had a few warm and sunny days in the Netherlands and even the usually warm May month is severely dissappointing. Yesterday on the way home from the supermarket it felt like somebody had thrown a bucket of water over me. When I came home I felt ill and immediately fled to the warm covers of my bed for a nap. And now I actually am ill. Thankfully I haven’t yet put away my winter sweaters. I wish I had one of those ridiculously looking snuggles here.

So this would basically be my ideal situation right now. A nice and warm oversized hoodie, comfy leggings, woolen socks, a cute plushie to cuddle with and loads of pillows around me. I can totally imagine myself wearing this and watching a Game of Thrones marathon. I have lots of episodes to catch up on anyway.

I would also totally wear this all through the weekend.

Image

Wolf hoodie by ButterflyDesigns1 | Forest leggings by Carouselink | Wolf plush by LauraFrisk | Knitted Scandinavain socks by RGideas | Black and pink pillow from Monki | Other pillows from H&M Home

You can find more outfits on Star of the East blog!

Lately I have become very interested in finding pen pals and send good old snail mail to each other. I guess I have Giova of One Bunting Away to thank for this. She often posts interesting projects and DIYs that are snail mail related. So I set out to find like-minded people from all over the world to exchange mail and crafts with. One thing I really wanted to do is show my new friends the city I life in.  I don’t really love Utrecht all that much, it’s too crowded for me. But that doesn’t mean the city isn’t beautiful and very diverse.

I first set out to the outskirts to show a little of the country-side and forest around Utrecht.

utrecht1

I live on the edge of Utrecht and I love it there. Right outside my building there are fields where sheep are kept. Every spring I can enjoy the little lambs running around. There are also lots and lots of rabbits where I live. They are everywhere!

utrecht2

You don’t need to bike or walk far to end up in the country side!

Now of course it’s completely different when you go towards the centre. Utrecht is an old city, so lots of old buildings.

utrecht3

This is pretty much the view in the centre. There are canals everywhere (though not as many as in Amsterdam) and the streets are narrow. Most streets are one-way only because there simply isn’t enough room for cars to pass each other!

utrecht4

The Dom Tower is seen from every side. I can even see it from my bedroom window even though the tower is over 3 km away in a straight line. It’s a great navigation point too.

utrecht5

Of course no Dutch city is without its bikes. Though the cities that are renown for having lots of students also have more bikes on average. And they are seriously everywhere! Lots of bikes end up in the canal, so I don’t dare leave my bike in the centre for more than a day. And it’s also very important to lock your bike with big chain locks.

All in all it was pretty interesting to walk through town and trying to look at the city through the eyes of someone who isn’t familiar with Dutch architecture.

monday moodboard - bicycles

Yellow bicycle photography print by kanpai | Bear on a bicycle t-shirt by darkcycleclothing | Cycle case by fluxproductions | Grey and yellow bike iPhone case by hhprint

I’ve been really trying my best to use my bike more instead of using public transportation the last few weeks. I was unable to use my bike for a while because I broke my wrist in March. It still hurts, but I’m able to put weight on it now. Since then I’ve been looking for ways to improve my bike. I’ve already bought a basket, but it doesn’t look really pretty because it does not really fit the unique shape of my bike. So I fastened it with tie wraps! It’s still practical, but I’ll have to keep an eye out on something better.

The photograph by Sara from the shop kanpai really caught my eye. I like the bright colours of the yellow bike and the red letters set against the grey wall. She made great use of the negative space, it’s minimalistic but intricate at the same time.

The shirt from darkcycleclothing has been on my favourites list for a long time now, and I still absolutely love it! It’s so quirky and funny and I especially love the bear’s expression. Go check their shop out, it’s filled with fun shirt designs!

My bike has a high top bar, so a bag like the one from Ryan’s shop fluxproductions would be perfect for me. I think it’s a great use of space and it helps preserve the identity of older style bikes.

Lastly there is the cute iPhone case from hhprint to really show your love for cycling to the world. The design has an interesting cut-out and lovely colours.

After a long leave of absence I’m slowly ready to start getting back into action. However, let’s start nice and easy and let me show you this awesome llama font!

llama font

Click on the image to go to the web application that lets you use the font for free. Don’t forget to have lots of fun with it!